PAN 85

Planning for Domestic Pets

April 2009 © Crown Copyright 2009 ISSN 0141-514X ISBN 978 0 7559 7018 9


Introduction Planning and Dogs Planning and Cats Planning and Rabbits SPP 11 Minimum Standards for Open Space

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INTRODUCTION 1. This Planning Advice Note is concerned with the provision of open space for the exercise of domestic animals, or pets, and associated waste disposal facilities. The keeping of pets is a tradition associated with human activity that dates back to pre-history, possibly with the domestication of wolves by hunter-gathering peoples. As human activity moved away from hunting, gathering and subsistence farming, the domestication of animals continued, for both recreational and for agricultural purposes. This practice has continued to the present day and many households possess pets or ‘animal companions’. 2. The main types of domestic animal kept as pets are dogs and cats, although other animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters can be found in many homes, along with caged birds and aquarium fish. Some homes contain exotic animals, but the focus of this PAN is on those animals with potential open space requirements, namely dogs and cats. 3. Official estimate put the UK dog population at 6.7 million in 2000, and around 9 million cats. There are approximately 24million households in the UK, of which 2.4million households are in Scotland. The ratio of pets to households can therefore be estimated. 4. For planning purposes, it should be assumed there are 2 dogs per 7 households or 0.28 dogs per household. There will be 3 cats per 8 households, or 0.375 cats per household. The other main type of recurring animal with outdoor space requirements is the rabbit, and these are often kept in hutches outdoors. Rabbits typically require little open space exercise, so this note will focus on the main animal types of the domestic cat and dog. PLANNING AND DOGS 5. The key issue for dogs is waste disposal. The average-sized dog will generate 0.34 kilograms of fecal matter per day, and the average-sized cat will generate 0.1 kilograms of fecal matter per day. Cats are fastidious about disposing of their own waste and this does not typically require any routine management on the part of the pet owner other than occasional garden cleaning. However, dog waste requires routine management, typically through the pick-up of waste by a scooper or plastic bag. 6. Disposal facilities should be provided by local authorities. The typical small development of 250 households will contain 70 dogs. If these are exercised daily, and evacuate their bowels, then this will generate 24 kilograms of dog waste per day. Owners will either take this waste home with them and dispose of it with domestic waste, or seek to place in a waste disposal bin. The typical waste disposal bin will hold 50 litres of waste, approximately 50 kilograms. It is considered adequate to provide 2 such bins per 250 dwellings, ideally placed at the locus of exercise areas, assuming they are emptied every week by the local authority. The typical cost of such a bin is £60 for the bin itself and £200 installation costs. These can be reclaimed from developers under an appropriate planning condition or section 75 agreement. 7. Dog exercise areas can be simple grassed areas. These should be deconflicted from child play areas, to minimise the risk to children from dog faeces, which can carry parasitic eggs and worms hazardous to health. A dog play area should be approximately 7 hectares for a small development, or 0.1 hectare per dog. 8. Further reference should be made to SPP 11 Physical Activity and Open Space for the provision of other open space facilities, and the guidance in this note should be considered additional to the requirements of SPP 11.

PLANNING AND CATS 9. Although cats require no such waste facilities, they can cause nuisance through nocturnal prowling, fighting and territorial spraying. This nuisance can be mitigated through appropriate design measures. Such measures include:
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Tree planting for cat scratching and climbing Selection of appropriate planting, ie catnip (latin name) at key loci Cat-friendly fencing that can be climbed and walked upon, to increase territorial range and minimise inter-territorial disputes Cat flaps designed into housing to prevent noise disturbance from cats wishing entry to the family home

10. In addition to measures to mitigate cat activity, there is the requirement to minimise the risk of cat road traffic accidents. Traffic calming measures should be considered by the Roads Authority to minimise the risk of cat-car collisions (CCCs). 11. CCCs occur primarily when cat ‘desire routes’ for travel intersect with roads. These collisions typically end with the death or severe injury of the cat and little damage to the car. The use of species mitigation meures for other major developments – badger tunnels on trunk roads – is well established, and ‘cat crossings’ have been found to reduce CCCs when designed into new developments. The range of a domestic cat is typically 0.2 hectares, and this can be mapped for proposed developments, assuming a standard distribution of cat ownership, and overlaid over the road layout of a proposed development to indicate the likely desire routes for cats. Although not in widespread use, spreadsheet ‘cat models’ have been developed to provide a more precise indication of likely desire routes, based on attractors and layout. 12. Cat species mitigation measures include raised crossings and narrowed roads at key points. Car user awareness can be increased through signage and road design, by painting cat symbols onto the asphalt at cat crossing points. PLANNING AND RABBITS 13. Rabbits are relatively low-maintenance pets and typically kept in outdoor hutches. The minimum length of such a structure is 1.5m. A family home should have adequate open space provision to maintain such a structure, along with other items of garden furniture including waste bins. SPP 11 MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR OPEN SPACE FOR 14. This guidance is in addition to the requirements of SPP 11, currently for:

Housing or mixed use developments of 10 or more units or greater than 0.5ha
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60m2 total open space per household to include: 40m2 of open space divided between parks, sports areas, allotments, green corridors, semi-natural space and civic space, as set out in the development plan; 20m2 of informal play / recreation space and equipped play areas. Note that this is additional to any garden space provided as part of the development.

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